Setting Meaningful Goals for the New Year, Part 2

This is a two part post, so if you didn’t catch Wednesday’s blog on defining your core values, you may want to pop over and check it out!

Today is all about drafting meaningful goals for the new year that allow you to intensify your focus on the things you truly value. This isn’t a lesson in SMART goals, although this post is inspired by the goal setting courses I taught this week…bleh, so corporate. This is about getting away from the need to have a never ending list of to-do’s and finding meaning in what you focus on each day.

Let’s say you have a resolution to compete in a triathlon [insert your relevant goal here]. Starting off the year with this big goal might be exciting for a while – you tell everybody your new intention, buy a swim cap, Google tips for newbie triathletes .. and then suddenly you realize how hard it is to accomplish and have no plan. Or perhaps you aren’t really connected with the goal – it sounds good or you feel pressured into doing it, but you aren’t sure if your heart is really in the game.

When you are writing your goals, start with WHY. Why is this meaningful in your life? Why is this a positive use of your time and dedication? How does it line up with your values? If it doesn’t, chuck it. The buck stops here. If the goal just keeps you in the rat race of achievement for no greater purpose, it isn’t serving you to concentrate your time or efforts on it. You are merely distracting yourself with a checklist. But, for this post’s sake, finishing a triathlon lines up with one of your core values – to live an active healthy life.

Perhaps you could revise your resolution to – It is my priority to lead a healthy lifestyle where I am physically active and strong, and in order to do so, I resolve to compete in a triathlon.

Ok, better. Now HOW? How can you focus on the positive of the achievement? What activity or lifestyle change could support this prioritization of health?

Perhaps your next iteration would look like – It is my priority to lead a healthy lifestyle where I am physically active and strong, and in order to do so, I resolve to compete in a triathlon by following a triathlon training plan for beginners, joining a tri club for support and getting a membership to the local pool.

Now you’ve got something to work with. WHEN? In what time frame could you realistically achieve this goal? Consider what you have going on in your life. Perhaps you have commitments throughout the year that would make it difficult to consistently train. Give yourself some room.

It is my priority to lead a healthy lifestyle where I am physically active and strong, and in order to do so,  I resolve to compete in a triathlon by following a triathlon training plan for beginners, joining a tri club for support and getting a membership to the local pool. By creating these habits, I will achieve my goal by June 2013.

Last step. How will you be held accountable?

It is my priority to lead a healthy lifestyle where I am physically active and strong, and in order to do so,  I resolve to compete in a triathlon by following a triathlon training plan for beginners, joining a tri club for support and getting a membership to the local pool. By creating these habits, I will achieve my goal by June 2013. To keep myself accountable, I will keep a daily log of my activity, participate in a monthly progress check in with my tri club and share my progress with my best friend at our weekly Sunday coffee date.

This version connects your goal to your value system, gives meaning to the work you will be doing each day to achieve it and creates a positive vibration for the beginning of the year. By incorporating the support and motivation (especially from an expert or someone you trust), you will be much more likely to find success. This version gives you a purpose and a plan for achievement. And more than anything else, it puts your heart in the game.

Competing in a triathlon was one of my goals way back in 2011. While I didn’t join the local tri club, I did do pretty much everything else described above and reached my goal on June 26, 2011. It was an incredible, empowering experience – to decide on a somewhat daunting path and follow through with personal dedication. I’ve prioritized a healthy, active life ever since! 🙂

I’m going to enlist this goal writing approach for 2013 and will look forward to sharing my narrowed down list with you in a few weeks!

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